The stage is set, and the East Baton Rouge Parish School System is ready to serve a musical feast with dishes to suit everyone’s tastes.
Jazz, classical, rock and musical theater are in the mix, all coming together in the school system’s second Music in Our Schools Benefit Concert.
The show in the Manship Theatre features student and faculty in the school system’s music programs.
“We’ll have performers from elementary school-age through high school,” says Wayne Talbot, the school system’s director of Fine Arts. “We started this last year, but we had it on a Thursday, which happened to be the night of a school board meeting. We’re hoping that moving it to Friday will draw a bigger crowd.”
Talbot is coordinating the event with Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School Band Director Andy Pizzo and Director of Choirs Emily DeFoe.
“Andy and I sat down and went through the program,” Talbot says. “I’d attended some of the groups’ performances, and I knew the quality of their work. We also went through the list of those who participated in our All-Parish programs, and we put this program together.”
The result is a menu of performances in an array of musical styles at different levels, including a professional performance by Take That!.
“Take That! is a group of musicians who are working in the school system, have connections to the school system or were once part of the school system’s band programs,” Talbot says. “Phat Hat performed for us last year, and they did a great job. But we decided to highlight our musicians this year.”
The second part of the program will be dedicated to Take That!, which will perform a mixture of horn-driven rhythm and blues, soul and funk selections. In the group’s roster are vocalist Lawrence Hebert, Pizzo on trombone, Jeff Chatelein on trumpet, John Bastianelli and Duane Huff on saxophone, Dre Britten on guitar, Amos Singleton on keyboard, Greg Darville on bass and Don Thomas on drums.
They will be preceded by student and faculty musicians from Baton Rouge Magnet High School, Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School, Parkview Elementary Talented Theatre and Claiborne Elementary School. The East Baton Rouge Talented Brass Ensemble also will perform.
All proceeds will benefit the school system’s All Parish music programs.
“The All Parish programs include students in public, parochial and private schools,” Talbot says. “The money from this program helps us to continue these programs.”
But the concert, itself, offers something more.
“We have a lot of talent in our music programs, and we’re excited to have a chance to showcase that,” Talbot says. “The program is so varied.”
Varied like a steaming hot feast with favorites for everyone.